Aggressive Tiger Shark Deflates Inflatable Standup Board, Prompts Warnings on Maui
State officials say a 10-12-foot-long Tiger shark deflated an inflatable stand-up paddle board about 200 yards off shore from 1681 Halama Street in Kīhei on Maui on Tuesday morning, Dec. 3.
The man aboard the inflatable at the time, was in the ocean with a group of other paddlers when the shark bit the back of his inflatable.
57-year-old Larry Oberto of Maui and Seattle, said the shark bit the back of his inflatable which immediately deflated. Another paddler, identified by Oberto as AJ Gaston was nearby on a board so he saw swam over to him and got on his board, according to DLNR reports.
The paddle boarders say the shark was “acting very aggressively” and pursued them to shore, according to information compiled by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement were notified of the incident at around 10:15 a.m., and have instituted standard shark protocols. This means the area, one mile in each direction of the incident will be posted with warning signs to let ocean goers know of the possibility of a shark in the vicinity.
Officers are advising people to stay out of the water from Cove Park to Waipu‘ilani Park in Kīhei until an all-clear is issued. At around 11:30 a.m., Maui police issued an update saying lifeguards are closing the beaches in Kīhei from Cove Park to the VFW Hall. The public is asked to avoid the area.
Authorities will continue warnings until at least noon on Wednesday, after they’ve had an opportunity to survey the water for continued shark presence.